The Best Online Safety Conversation Starter: The Smart Talk

The Best Online Safety Conversation Starter: The Smart Talk

How do teachers and parents bridge the online safety gap between home and school? Easy! With the best online safety conversation starter: The Smart Talk, a free web tool created by LifeLock that helps address digital safety issues.

In today's digital world teaching and practicing online safety needs to be a top priority both at home and in school. Parents and teachers need to be on the same page when educating children about this topic. Children can be easily exposed to inappropriate sites or scams and need to know how to avoid and handle these types of situations. Often times many adults don't understand the proper safety precautions they need to teach their children when it comes to interacting in our cyber world.

I have blogged about 5 Reasons to Use Picture Books to Help Teach Digital Citizenship and mention how many teachers all over the world are following Common Sense Media's scope and sequence to address digital safety. 

As the holidays approach, many children will be receiving digital devices. Some will be given their first phone, tablet or computer while others might get an upgrade. Therefore, what can teachers recommend to parents to help continue the conversation at home and bridge the digital safety gap? I have the answer for you...

The Smart Talk is a FREE tool that gets parents and kids together for a conversation about being responsible with new technology and populates a printable contract based on input. It was developed by Lifelock, whose core service is identity theft protection. The Smart Talk was designed to help adults empower children to become smart digital natives in our increasingly connected world.

A parent and child can sit down together and visit the The Smart Talk website. They will click the red Get Started button and walk through the five different categories:
  • Safety and Privacy
  • Screen Time
  • Social Media & Respect
  • Apps & Downloads
  • Texting & Calling
  • Extra Credit (fun stuff!)

Some questions are open ended and require the child to type in their response while others are selection responses. Here are a few examples:

One thing that really stood out to me when going through these questions is how the agreement holds both the child and parent accountable. For instance, this question below requires the parent to make a promise. When children see they aren't the only one being held responsible, I truly think there will be more buy in on their behalf!

Something else that I really liked about this interactive website were the Bonus Talk questions like the one shown below. There is even a link you can click for more information.

Once the parent and child decide on the criteria in all 5 areas, they can print their contract and sign it together. Here is a contract I printed on Astrobrights (obviously any "parent teacher" would print on colored paper😂) and hung on the refridgerator. I suggest making it fun and allowing the child to decorate the contract with markers, stickers, etc.. These puffy emoji stickers were a nice touch. You can find them by visiting my Amazon affiliate link HERE

Close up of signature
The Smart Talk is a very well designed tool that will help guide parents in the conversations needed to address digital safety. I highly recommend teachers and parents add this website to their "toolbox".

More Tips:

-Monitor child's browser history
-Limit child's access to certain sites
-Manage the time a child spends online using the unGlue app

Do you have any tips that have personally worked for your child? Comment below, I'd love to hear them!

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